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Beware the bears are out

The bears are out early this year.

Just as recently as this weekend, bears have been spotted in Elliot Lake and Sagamok, so the public should be aware with the mild weather, they are hungry and looking for food. 

Ministry of Natural Resources & Forests Outreach specialist Meghan Forbes says due to the mild weather, some bears are waking up earlier from hibernation … while others’ dens are being flooded out. 

She adds the bears’ traditional breakfast isn’t readily available this early. She says the first things bears are going to look for is grass and dandelions, especially near roadways, because the snow tends to leave alongside the roadways a little sooner than in the bush. 

In any spring, food is limited and doesn’t last long, so the animals are drawn to unnatural attractants in urban areas.

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“That’s why it’s always important for the public to manage their attractants early, including their garbage and bird feeders,” says Forbes, “and things that could make a nice snack for the bears.” 

Tips for managing those attractants and other advice from Forbes are printed below. 




  • Put garbage out only on the morning of garbage day and keep your containers clean 
  • Put away feeders in the spring and instead, offer birds natural alternatives (for example, flowers, nesting boxes and fresh water) 
  • Plant non-fruit bearing trees and shrubs 
  • Do not leave pet food outdoors, in screened-in areas or porches 
  • Keep your dogs on a leash 
  • Keep an eye on your kids 


Call 911 or your local police if a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety and exhibits threatening or aggressive behaviour. 


Call the toll-free Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327 or TTY 705-945-7641 if a bear: 


  • roams around or checks garbage cans 
  • breaks into a shed where garbage or food is stored 
  • is in a tree 
  • pulls down a bird feeder or knocks over a barbecue 
  • moves through a backyard or field but does not linger 


This line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

For more information on how to prevent encounters with bears, visit 

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